Phenomenal Choice Mint State 64 1795 Capped Bust Eagle

    1795 $10 13 Leaves MS64 PCGS. Breen-6830, B. 1-A, Taraszka-1, R.3. A satiny and brilliant coin that retains much of the original mint freshness which is so seldom found on eagles of this period. Note the quality of the strike, with strong stars surrounding Liberty and the dentils each clear along the rim of the obverse. The dentils on the reverse are generally sharp, but along the lower rim they are weak likely because of adjustment marks. There is a touch of softness on the central curls of Liberty's hair, and similarly on the eagle's breast (areas opposed on the dies), and this is true of virtually every coin struck from these dies. Most Capped Bust eagles show extensive adjustment marks on one side, and these often mar the surfaces and distract the eye. While the present coin has some adjustment marks, they are very light, and are found within the small wreath held by the eagle's beak, crossing the eagle's chest and a few more on his feet and the branch below. The base of the reverse is weakly struck, and this may be a function of both the minor adjustment marks or simply the way this coin was made. We also note some very faint reddish-copper flecks along the lower reverse dentils, with similar colors seen on the leading edge of the eagle's wings and a couple of leaves on the wreath. A foremost rarity in any mint state grade, and especially so when rubbing shoulders with the Gem level. The combined NGC and PCGS population reports state that nine examples of this date have been graded as such with a scant five pieces finer.
    The Philadelphia Mint initiated coinage with a few pattern 1792 coins and a small issue of 1792 half dismes, many of which entered circulation along with the various foreign and colonial issues then available in the fledgling United States. By 1793 copper coinage began in earnest with half cents and large cents, although the designs of these initial copper coins met with general disfavor and were changed in 1794 for the half cents, and completely changed three times on the large cents during 1793 alone. Our government required that a bond be posted before the Philadelphia Mint could issue silver coins and gold, and the money for the bond was not available until 1794 for the silver coins and 1795 for gold. Thus in 1794 silver half dimes, half dollars and silver dollars were coined for the first time in significant numbers. Once the bond was posted for gold coinage in 1795, coinage of half eagles and eagles began. As the eagle was the premier coin and largest denomination for which coinage was planned, special care was taken in preparing the dies. Fewer mistakes are seen on eagles as compared to half eagles, and the dies were also carefully monitored to check for breakage or clashing as well as the original design layout. In fact, the only significant aberration during the 1795 production was the Nine Leaf reverse die, which was used quite sparingly and perhaps replaced soon after it was noticed that the symbolic thirteen states had been reduced to nine (leaves).
    A few die markers are worthy of note, on this specimen we see a thin die scratch which extends from the middle of the 5 up toward the loop of the 9, above the 17 to the lowest curl on Liberty, where it merges with a faint die crack. Another die line extends from the back serif of the (LI)B to the top of the curl which wraps up over the top of Liberty's cap. Most of the stars and the date have a faint peripheral crack along the outer points, but it extends through the middle of the last star to the bust. The reverse die has a few die markers of its own, including a thin line up from the left wing of the eagle very close to the neck, the (A)M has a raised lump on the inside left angle, and the is a small die lump within the center of that letter, just above the junction. Three of the leaf points on the lower branch show extended die scratches all of which project straight downward toward the edge.
    As stated, the surfaces of this coin are very attractive and show only a few faint handling lines. We also note a dull nick on and just below the right wing of the eagle, on the third feather out from his body. This nick is probably the most pronounced handling mark on the coin, and it is very minor and partially hidden by the feather. A smaller nick resides in the middle of the field underneath the left wing, and this nick is horizontal. Housed in an older green insert PCGS holder, and one of the highlights of this entire sale. Destined to become one of the highlights of a major collection, and as the first year of issue of our largest denomination coin, the importance of this coin cannot be overstated.
    From The Gold Rush Collection.(#8551) (Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25ZU, PCGS# 8551)

    Weight: 17.50 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Gold Rush Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2005
    12th-15th Wednesday-Saturday
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